Friday, March 18, 2011

Superwoman traveller Megan: Travelling is deep in her veins

It's well and truly time for me to introduce you to another Superwoman Traveller here: you're about to hear from Megan, who I met online (thanks to the wonderful world of blogging!). Megan is from a small town in south-east Victoria, Australia, and had long dreamt of doing a big trip - but university and then working as a teacher got in the way. Until - I'll let Megan explain:
I decided it was now or never. I had no excuses to stop me from leaving everything behind and jetsetting for a year as I had been dreaming about since I was a wee child. So while all my friends were buying houses and getting married, I decided to travel. Now I'm back into normal life, teaching, doing all the team sports I missed and having a few wines to catch up on the past year with my friends and I'm totally re-energised for work. But of course, travelling is deep in my veins, so no doubt I will be off again soon. I still have the whole continent of Africa to explore!
You can find out all about Megan's travels at her great blog, Paper Aeroplane, which so far covers her trip through places like Japan, Vietnam, Western Europe, Chile and Mexico. Thanks heaps, Megan, for agreeing to be interviewed for my series on female solo travellers, I'm sure my readers will be inspired by you. Without further ado:



Tell us about your first big solo trip. Were you worried?

My first trip alone was last year when I embarked on a "Round the World" adventure for 11 months. I wasn't alone for the whole time, as I met up with friends along the way, but the first time I really was on my own was in Tokyo, Japan. I had just left my friend in Thailand and was on a train from Narita airport into Tokyo surrounded by staring eyes (I was the only non-Japanese person on the train and with my blonde hair I stuck out like a sore thumb) and I did have a bit of a tear. 

Coming from Australia where I could walk down the street in Melbourne and bump into people I knew, then going to a country where the capital city had the same amount of people as the whole population of Australia required a big change of mindset. I wasn't so much worried in the sense that I felt unsafe but I guess it just hit me that I was completely alone in an alien country without knowing more words of their language than what I could count on two hands and without knowing a single person. I almost felt like I had been reborn into a new world where I had to learn everything from scratch and just like a baby coming out of the womb, I was a little daunted by that prospect. 

But after the first week, I never looked back. In the weeks that followed I met so many lovely people and had so many great experiences and the struggle at the beginning only made it all the more rewarding. I ended up staying in Japan for two months and by the end I didn't want to leave. It certainly gets easier as you go along.

Why do you like travelling solo?

You can go where you want, when you want and you can change your plans at the last minute, which is good for me, because I am a little spontaneous. You also meet a huge variety of people that you may never have talked to if you were with someone else. I learnt a lot about myself and gained so much more confidence by the end of my travels, I felt like I could take on anything!

Any tips for women who are nervous about travelling on their own?

Just to be sensible and use your intuition! Don't walk around cities late at night alone (I used to carry a pocket knife around with me just in case, but how much damage can you really do with a pocket knife?? It made me feel better anyway), don't get into a cab if the driver seems a bit sly or is overcharging you (always negotiate the price before getting in!), don't drink too much when you go out if you don't have a trustworthy friend to get you home, try to pick up as much of the language as possible, it will make a HUGE difference in the way people treat you and always strike up a conversation with people on trains, in hostels and wherever you go.... you just never know, you might make a friend for life! You don't need to be a superwoman to travel alone, you just need to do your research and have no fear!


Thanks so much for your tips Megan - and I especially love that you say you don't need to be a superwoman to travel solo. Good luck for your future travels!

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